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A strategy for raster-based geocomputation under different parallel computing platforms

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The demand for parallel geocomputation based on raster data is constantly increasing with the increase of the volume of raster data for applications and the complexity of geocomputation processing. The difficulty of parallel programming and the poor portability of parallel programs between different parallel computing platforms greatly limit the development and application of parallel raster-based geocomputation algorithms. A strategy that hides the parallel details from the developer of raster-based geocomputation algorithms provides a promising way towards solving this problem. However, existing parallel raster-based libraries cannot solve the problem of the poor portability of parallel programs. This paper presents such a strategy to overcome the poor portability, along with a set of parallel raster-based geocomputation operators (PaRGO) designed and implemented under this strategy. The developed operators are compatible with three popular types of parallel computing platforms: graphics processing unit supported by compute unified device architecture, Beowulf cluster supported by message passing interface (MPI), and symmetrical multiprocessing cluster supported by MPI and open multiprocessing, which make the details of the parallel programming and the parallel hardware architecture transparent to users. By using PaRGO in a style similar to sequential program coding, geocomputation developers can quickly develop parallel raster-based geocomputation algorithms compatible with three popular parallel computing platforms. Practical applications in implementing two algorithms for digital terrain analysis show the effectiveness of PaRGO.
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Keywords: cluster; compute unified device architecture (CUDA); geocomputation; graphics processing unit (GPU); message passing interface (MPI); open multiprocessing (OpenMP); parallel computing; parallel operator; raster

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: State Key Laboratory of Resources and Environmental Information System, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100101, PR China

Publication date: November 2, 2014

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